OUR FIRST DAY IN THE CAPITAL CITY
03.18.2017 - 03.18.2017
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and there is only one word I can think of to describe it: dizzying!
After very little sleep, we departed from 2 Friends Beach Hotel in Entebbe early to make the 42 kilometer drive to Kampala and to resume our planned itinerary of events. This drive was our first daylight look at the Ugandan landscape, filled with rolling hills, lush vegetation, and the big sky. Lining the city streets are small business establishments selling clothes, hardware, even furniture, alongside temporary food vendors who are part of the informal sector of the economy. These vendors typically bicycle to town from the outskirts, laden with their fruits and vegetables for sale, and select a roadside location at which to conduct business for the day.
Entering the Kampala area, we found the city streets teeming with pedestrians, bicyclists laden with bananas or other goods for sale, cars and vans and matatus (taxis) driving in no particular lane, along with the ubiquitous boda-boda motorbikes for hire. We made our way through the city to Makerere University, where we met Dr. Paul Mukwaya, a professor in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climactic Sciences. Dr. Mukwaya delivered a lecture focusing on the physical environment and historical development of Uganda. At the end of the lecture we received the first of many instructional talks about how to try to commmunicate in different regions as we moved through the country.
Makerere University is in the central district, and the heart of the Buganda kingdom. Here, the tribespeople are referred to as the Baganda people and the language is Lugandan. Tutored by Dr. Mukwaya, we practiced some greetings in this language as well as in Ankole, the language of the Isingiro district in the western part of the country, where we were to travel in a couple of days.
After Makerere, we drove the city streets, where the socioeconomic stratification is evidence in the hills themselves: at the bottom in the valleys are the slums where the poorest reside, and the property values and representtion of wealth increases with the altitude of these hills.
Our day concluded at the home of our host, Jimrex Byamugisha, whose extended family welcomed us warmly and who had prepared for us a traditional homemade Ugandan feast of beef, goat, matoke, peas, greens, potatoes, groundnut sauce, and dessert of passionfruit and mango. After the delicious meal, the family entertained us with their traditional music and dancing. It was quite a memorable day and evening!